Miami, perched at the southern tip of Florida's Gold Coast, is the ideal spot for a vacation loaded with sun, sand, and star-studded entertainment. Among its variety of attractions are Little Havana and its authentic Latin food; Bayside Marketplace's shops, restaurants, and entertainment; and Miami Seaquarium, the world's largest tropical marine aquarium. And don't miss the Art Deco District - a National Historical District in South Miami.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Who should go?
There are watersports, golf, fishing, and tennis everywhere.
Go shopping in quaint boutique shops, marketplaces, shopping villages, large malls, or the exclusive high-end stores found throughout the area.
Enjoy an indoor or an outdoor concert; relax and listen to Jimmy Buffett songs in the Keys. In Miami, party to a hot Latin beat until the break of dawn on Miami Beach.
What's the climate like?
The temperature is lovely year-round; however, the summer months can be quite humid.
How do I get around town?
The Florida Coasts are best navigated by rental car. With so many fun cities, beaches, and attractions ranging from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico and south to the Florida Keys, Florida is a great fly/drive destination.
Miami is 24 miles from Ft. Lauderdale and 160 miles from Key West. Palm Beach is approximately 47 miles north of Ft. Lauderdale. Within the areas of Ft. Lauderdale and Miami Beach, a rental car is the best way to get around, however, if going down to South Beach, be aware that parking may be difficult to find. You’ll need a car to get to Key West, but once you’re there, you can easily walk to all the sites.
What kinds of dining and nightlife are available?
Cuisine on Florida's Atlantic Coast has a rich blend of old and new. Fantastic, ultra-chic restaurants and traditional Caribbean and Spanish-style dinners can be found in and among the many areas. Seafood is also a great choice when visiting Florida, with its close proximity to the ocean giving it some of the freshest seafood in the world. Here are just a few restaurants you may want to try when traveling around the coast:
Michael Schwartz, former chef at Nemo, is creating a buzz with his menu of wild, exotically sourced, and rare ingredients. Miami Beach.
- Bayside Seafood Restaurant
Features a tiki hut feeling with excellent fish and affordable prices. Key Biscayne.
- Blue Heaven
Continental and Caribbean fare are featured on the dinner menu, but Blue Heaven is really known for its excellent breakfast. The lobster Benedict drowned in a rich hollandaise is out of this world. Key West.
- Johnny V
Local legend, Johnny Vinczencz’s first solo restaurant with the freshest fish and an impressive 600-bottle wine list. Ft. Lauderdale.
- Key Largo’s Crack’d Conch
Enjoy a casual atmosphere and some of the best seafood and key lime pie in the area. Key Largo.
- Mark’s Las Olas
Wonderful Floridian and New World cuisine is featured at this trendy restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale.
- Meteor Smokehouse
Often considered to be the best barbeque in Key West, Meteor’s serves up huge portions. Key West.
- Madiba Miami
Hearty yet elegant South African cuisine at this unconventional little spot in Sunny Isles Beach. Miami Beach.
- Palm Grille
Continuing a long Florida tradition of American cuisine with Asian fusion, Palm Grille serves affordable gourmet food. Find out why two million people eat at the Palm Grille cvery year. Several locations, inlcuding Riverwalk and the beach. Ft. Lauderdale.
- Roger’s Restaurant and Bar
Large, sharable portions and a great place to watch the sunset. North Bay Village.
A buzzing joint with a deck overlooking the ocean where the fresh fish and key lime pie will have you coming back for more. Key Largo.
Miami’s South Beach and Ft. Lauderdale, are world-renowned for a pulsing club scene that can keep you dancing until the wee hours of the morning, but many other after-sunset pursuits can be found all over. Watching the sunset from Mallory Square in Key West is an event not to be missed. Orchestra, opera, theater, and other cultural performances are readily available in Miami and Palm Beach.
Where should I go shopping?
People fly to Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Palm Beach from all over the world just to shop. High-end stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Cartier, Prada, Chanel, and Gucci as well as small boutiques will fill the need of any shopaholic.
When are the local events?
Events around the Florida coast often have something to do with the sun or the sea. Latin festivals also contribute to the wide variety of special events. Here are some you may want to check out:
March. A nine-day festival including a Miss Carnaval contest, Carnaval Night concerts, and a Calle Ocho cooking contest.
Conch Republic Celebration
April. A celebration to honor the short-lived but festive independence of the would-be Caribbean nation. Key West.
Hemingway Days Festival
July. Honors author Ernest Hemingway with festivities and a look-alike contest. Key West.
Miami Reggae Festival
August. A huge celebration with, what else, reggae music.
Columbus Day Regatta
October. A very Miami thing with beautiful people, amazing boats, and lots of salsa music. It’s more of a Mardi Gras-esque bacchanal (drunken party) on the water than a race.
October. An enormous gathering of costumed participants show up for this adults-only Halloween party. Key West.
What are my golf and recreation options?
The coastal areas of the sunshine state offer countless golfing opportunities for every skill level.
Miles and miles of beaches and coastline provide Florida with a myriad of sport fishing opportunities. Hundreds of charter boats are available for your chance to land any number of fish including marlin, sailfish, tarpon, and barracuda.
The 120-miles along the Florida Keys are home to North America’s only living-coral barrier reef. This unique ecosystem runs the length of the Keys about five miles offshore. There is no more versatile marine destination in the world. Coral-encrusted shipwrecks and intricate natural coral formations provide a wide range of interesting dive sites.
The Florida coasts are world famous for fun in the sun. Spend the day sailing, boating, or skimming the waves on a jet-ski. Or enjoy many beach activities such as volleyball and frisbee.
The origins of the sport are obscure, but it is believed that Jai-alai began in the Basque region of Spain and France more than three centuries ago. The first permanent Jai-alai fronto (playing court) in the United States was built in Miami in 1926 and now you can experience this unique game.
Find Your Beach
Every beach in Miami is different. Crandon Park Beach on Key Biscayne is gorgeous and a great place for a family picnic. Haulover Beach to the north has glamorous surroundings like South Beach but the people are more laid back — and the kite flying is great. South Beach is best where Lincoln Road dead ends between 16th and 17th Street.
A storyteller comes every Thursday evening to the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and tells tales of the hotel and its ghosts. Little Havana’s Calle Ocho (8th Street) has an outdoor festival of music and art the last Friday of each month.
Last-Minute Tee Times
If you are taking a last-minute golf trip to Florida — or simply forgot to book tee times — there’s still hope to get in a round or two. Visit www.nextdaygolfer.com, a company that deals with more than 40 courses in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, and Florida’s west coast for same-day or next-day tee times. www.Stand-byGolf.com is another web site to try, too.
Getting Around in Ft. Lauderdale
There is a water bus that runs along the Intracoastal Waterway in Ft. Lauderdale. You can get on and off wherever and whenever you please for approximately $10 a day. The stops along the route give you easy access to many hotels, shops, and restaurants.
Miami Beach’s up-and-coming hot spot with great architecture from the 50s. Take a self-guided walking tour with the free maps from the North Beach Development Corporation.
One of the most special attractions in the Miami area. Sculpted from a rock quarry in 1923 and now in the midst of one of Coral Gables' residential neighborhoods, it is perhaps the only swimming pool anywhere to be included in the National Register of Historic Places. Certainly it is the only swimming pool of its kind with its vine-covered loggias, shady porticos, Spanish fountain, three-story observation towers, and cascading waterfalls that spill into a free-form lagoon complete with coral rock caves and palm-fringed island.
Key West is home to the Pirate Soul Museum, showcasing a collection of memorabilia, including Captain Kidd’s journal.
Good to Know:
|Ft. Lauderdale International Airport (FLL)
Miami International Airport (MIA)
West Palm Beach Airport (PBI)
|March – June and September – November
|January, May, September, and early December
|English and Spanish
|Florida and its coasts are in the Eastern Time Zone, one hour ahead of Central Time.
|None needed for U.S. citizens
|Leave 15% or 20% if the service was excellent
|Florida is very casual, however Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, and Miami Beach all have very fashionable areas. Shorts are allowed at most restaurants, except fine dining establishments. Bring a sweater, as some of the air-conditioned places can be quite cool. It’s all laid back in The Keys.